The protest group Occupy Boise packed up their encampment last June, seven months after building a tent city next to the Idaho Statehouse. But Idaho lawmakers are still arguing over rules crafted to regulate any future protests at state-owned buildings.
The rules say a protest can last seven days and can only take place during daylight hours. Department of Administration Director Teresa Luna defended her agency's rules to a legislative committee Tuesday. “It’s a security and a safety issue for us. We have minimal security on staff after business hours to manage all of the properties, and the lighting in those areas is not conducive to a safe and secure environment.”
Anne Hausrath, a former Boise city council member, says she understands the need for rules. But she told lawmakers these rules go beyond protecting public safety and property. “If approved, these rules would restrict all voices, not just the voices of Occupy Boise last spring, but all voices of the citizens of Idaho.”
While lawmakers debate the merits of the rules, the American Civil Liberties Union is suing Idaho over them and wants them overturned.
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